Forbes puts Turkey-born biotech billionaire’s story on its cover
SAN DIEGOForbes magazine has put the story of a Turkey-born biotech billionaire, Osman Kibar, who has been named the inventor of the “God Pill,” along with his company Samumed on its latest cover as one of the top 30 global game changers in the world.
“Samumed, the San Diego firm he [Kibar] has been stealthily building for a decade, is the most valuable biotechnology startup on the planet,” said the Forbes story.
Samumed, which is expected to soon be worth some $12 billion, is finding it easy to raise huge amounts of cash because it believes it has invented medicines that can reverse aging, according to the story. The company’s first drugs are targeted at specific organ systems. One aims to regrow hair for bald men. The same drug may also turn gray hair back to its original color, and a cosmetic version could erase wrinkles. A second drug seeks to regenerate cartilage in arthritic knees. Additional medicines in early human studies aim to repair degenerated discs in the spine, remove scarring in the lungs and treat cancer. After that, Samumed will attempt to cure a leading cause of blindness and go after Alzheimer’s, according to the Forbes story.
“The firm’s focus, disease by disease, symptom by symptom, is to make the cells of aging people regenerate as powerfully as those of a developing fetus,” it added.
Kibar, the founder and CEO of Samumed, was born in the Aegean province of İzmir and took his secondary education in Robert College, an Istanbul-based school that drew from among the top 0.2 percent of students who took Turkey’s national standardized test at age 11. Kibar, the grandson of a former İzmir mayor, later emigrated from Turkey to the U.S. for college. He took his graduate degrees in the U.S.
Kibar’s friends from Robert College have played a significant role in his success story. One of his friends from this school, Cevdet Samikoğlu, helped Kibar secure $3.5 million to create new startups. One, housed in a Pfizer incubator, was called Wintherix, which would eventually become Samumed.
Samikoğlu is now Samumed’s chief financial officer. Another Robert College pal, Yusuf Yazıcı, is now the company’s chief medical officer, while another, Arman Oruç, left a partnership at white-shoe law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett to become chief legal officer. Kibar, who is also a poker champion, works closely with Samumed’s chief scientific officer and cofounder, John Hood, who had invented a cancer drug that got his previous company, Targegen, bought by Sanofi for $635 million. Hood and Kibar have been going after a gene called Wnt, which stands for “wingless integration site.”